We, Cyborgs?


cyborg [ˈsaɪˌbɔːg]   n

(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) (in science fiction) a living being whose powers are enhanced by computer implants 

[from cyb(erneticorg(anism)]
For those of us who grew up with the Jetson’s, Total Recall I, and the hallucinatory fantasies of Philip K. Dick, the present disappoints. We are still no match for the mish-mash of meat and metal embodied by Arnold. We still catch colds, we still must sometimes hustle to the toilet, we are still all-too human…. Or are we? Have we not become “living beings whose powers are enhanced by computer implants”?
Take a good look around. You need not cast your gaze very far before the metal (or plastic) meets the meat. Is what we call a “smart phone” really that different from having our minds externalized? Virtually every significant person and event in human history can be located by a tech. savvy twelve year old in a matter of seconds. Name the capital of Turkey? Someone who doesn’t even realize Turkey is a country can provide you with street-level views of Istanbul before you can say “Ataturk.” But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. I guess the crux of this discussion involves the nature and extent of the “digital divide” in both its present and near-future varieties. Ruefully, my Samsung Note cannot yet imagine for me a world where half of the population “runs on” cognition enhancing devices, and the rest rely on another form of knowledge, perhaps more primitive, perhaps superior, but infinitely different. What does this mean? Is making sure all kids everywhere have access to technology a moral imperative?

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